Don’t mention digital transformation

Chemicals group AECI has been restructuring its IT and moving to the cloud in preparation for a more efficient future, but it’s not done yet.

23 February 2023

AECI’s Toni Serra (left) and Bangi Magashula. Photo: Karolina Komendera

We often generalise about organisations, grouping them together based on location, industry, valuation size, similarity of culture or achievement, but, under the microscope, every organisation is unique. Each has its own composition of operations, strategic priorities and focus, its own value proposition and positioning in the market, its own footprint of facilities and structure of specialised skills, corporate identity and colours, and, of course, its own IT environment and strategy. When it comes to IT, one of the more recent groupings has been based on a company’s approach to cloud computing: some build cloud-native capabilities, many ‘legacy businesses’ are gradually moving to the cloud, some are choosing not to, and others, like AECI, have gone all in on cloud as the foundational steps of its digital transformation. Except, don’t call it a ‘digital transformation’ in front of Toni Serra, the company’s CIO, or Bangi Magashula, group head: IT Governance and Planning. They believe the term is illfitting as it’s something IT has been doing for years and has been overused to the point it doesn’t have meaning anymore. And it’s hard to disagree.

Still, when you sit with the pair and hear how their teams have turned around the IT function to better meet the needs of the chemicals group, it’s difficult to think of a more apt term.

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